In this episode, Claire interviews Vashti Hardy at the One Education Literacy Conference. Vashti is the author of the children’s novels ‘Brightstorm’ and ‘WildSpark’. Prior to beginning her career in writing, Vashti worked as a primary school teacher for four years with English as her specialist subject.
Vashti has adored writing and literacy from an early age. One of her high school teachers gave her a free-writing journal and she credits him as one of her inspirations for becoming an author. Her Year 2 teacher was also a great source of encouragement to her after reading the book ‘Rebecca’s World’ to the class. This book led to Vashti’s belief that imagination is a super power. Whilst studying her BA at Chichester University, she investigated how free-writing sessions affect children’s enjoyment of writing and their self-belief as writers in her dissertation research project.
When Vashti was teaching in primary schools, she frequently used free-writing journals with her children. She also led creative writing clubs to encourage further engagement with writing. Eventually she decided to study for an MA in Creative Writing alongside her teaching. Before long, she left the profession to become a copywriter and digital marketing executive which gave her more time to develop her writing career.
Vashti’s first book ‘Brightstorm’ was published in March 2018 and its sequel is due to be released in February 2020. In May 2019, her second novel ‘WildSpark’ was published. In this interview, she shares her reflections on the value of reading for pleasure and provides practical tips and advice to ignite a passion for writing in children.